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May we introduce: Amit and Bo, Rising Star Fellows 2021

Amit Pandit

Rising Star Fellow Amit Pandit

Rising Star Fellow Amit Pandit
Image Credit: private

The medicinal chemist Amit Pandit came to Freie Universität Berlin as a Rising Star Fellow in November 2021.

He would like to use the scholarship to study the project entitled “Design, synthesis, and biological characterization of multitargeted Indolamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) / Tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) inhibitors”. The interdisciplinary project from the Institutes of Pharmacy and Chemistry/Biochemistry at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia provides key elements for development of new anti-cancer agents. At tumour microenvironment, immunomodulatory effect by IDO/TDO inhibitors averts the cancer progression and therefore bears the potential to identify new therapeutic ways to target cancer.

Amit Pandit studied Pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy, Devi Ahilya University in India. Subsequently he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology Indore. During his academic carrier he published in top journals, won a few of awards and already filed four patents.

“Interdisciplinary research scope was my key motivation for the fellowship application. New drug development requires the expertise as well as facilities in the field of Pharmacy, Chemisty and Biology for tasks like in silico designing of new drugs, chemical synthesis and biological activity evaluation respectively. The Rising Star fellowship provides the most appropriate environment for the proposed project. The Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy at Freie Universität Berlin is a big department and provides excellent platform for interdeciplinary research activities. At the Institute of Pharmacy, I have observed that students are working on the collaborative projects which is very important for learning progress. After completing the current research project, I will gain confidence in research planning and execution in medicinal chemistry. The acquired knowledge will help me to find a research position at a university or in industry in Germany.”

Bo Tang

Rising Star Fellow Bo Tang

Rising Star Fellow Bo Tang
Image Credit: private

The ecologist Bo Tang is interested in the responses of soil processes to global environmental change. He came to Freie Universität Berlin as a Rising Star Fellow in December 2021.

Being funded by the fellowships, he would like to focus on the interaction between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and soil microbes under global environmental change. Specifically, he would aim at firstly exploring how are the interactions between AMF and soil microbes regulated by host identity and global change factors (e.g. warming, drought and nitrogen deposition)? And then he looks forward to further exploring effects of these interactions on soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics by both lab measurement and model training.

Since SOC is the largest terrestrial C sink, subtle changes in its size have the potential to greatly affect atmospheric CO2 and thus the future trajectory of climate change. This kind of study will not only improve our understanding for SOC dynamics in ecosystems dominated by AM plants, but is pivotal for accurately predicting terrestrial C-climate feedback especially in the context of global change.

Bo Tang received his B.S. of Biology in 2013, and M.S. of Ecology in 2016. In December 2020, he obtained his Ph.D. of Ecology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has an outstanding publication output especially as first author during his Ph.D. period. He will spend two years working as a postdoctoral fellow, collaborating with Prof. Dr. Matthias C. Rillig and Prof. Dr. Britta Tietjen at the Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy at Freie Universität Berlin.

“During my doctoral studies, I learned plenty of excellent research and publications in Rillig’s lab website. Because my research interest is well aligned with that of his research group, so at that time I thought it would be great if I could join Rillig’s lab upon completion of my Ph.D. to continue my research. I decided to pursue the Rising Star fellowship to join his lab. With the tremendous efforts from both Prof. Dr. Rillig and Prof. Dr. Tietjen on my research proposal, I won the fellowship finally. When I arrived in Berlin, I was attracted to Freie Universität Berlin and this city. In Rillig’s lab, it is so incredible to bring together all these very excellent scholars from all over the world, so I learned a lot about the culture of different countries. I love the research atmosphere so much, and I really enjoy doing research here. The skills and experiences I gain will directly help me achieve my professional and academic goals.”